During the recent WATMC event, ATM Magazine had the opportunity to catch up with Per Ahl, CEO Saab Digital Air Traffic Solutions.  We discussed ATC, digital tower, drones and UAM.

The show news touched on two of these topics. The first integrated ATC deployment for the organisation in the Middle East. The second brings us to the topic of digital tower with the announcement of a new partnership to deploy this solution in Latin America.

As solutions evolve toward global clients there is a need for new features  - different regions have different requirements so you can’t have a one size fits all solution. The initial solutions were very high-end and now there’s a need to address different sized locations with different work environments. Through user groups with ATCOs, the company was able to define many new ideas that the ATCOs would see as valuable in the technology and its operation.  The move to digitise globally is aided by this inclusion. And many great new ideas are generated by including the ATCOs early on. Additionally, the environmental impact of digital towers should also be considered as they support the overall reduction of our industry’s carbon footprint.

Global ANSP customers understand the future is about digitsation and programs to support this are top of mind. There will be new developments coming online in Q3 of this year and extending into the next few years. Our younger generation of ATCOs are especially interested in these topics given they operate in a very digital world in their daily lives and expect to see this carry over into their working lives.  

Partners are key when it comes to drones. Rather than doing in-house development for all features related to UTM, partners help to move the industry along at a quicker pace. Looking not only at drones, but also eVTOL aircraft, and the need for regional airports to be involved is key. The integration of data collection and sharing with help to support eVTOL and UAM programs.  There’s an important program in Sweden which the company is participating in called the Test Arena for the Autonomous Airport. This program goes beyond the topic of UAM and looks at how advanced digitisation can support autonomous airport applications that enable global accessibility and efficient transport of goods and people in a sustainable and climate-safe way.

Looking more specifically at air mobility, it’s great to have state sponsored programs that can help our industry leverage lessons learned from autonomous car programs and bring the regulators and overall supply chain into the discussion. ‘U-space is the start of autonomous people moving”.  Let’s get started!